10 things to do with your body after you are dead.
I am a advocate for organ donations. Thousands of people die each year in the United States and across the world because of a lack of organ donation volunteers. In most states it is simply a matter of updating your driver's license record to indicate that you are a an organ donor. In some states you have to fill out a form and other states, and countries, you are assumed to be a donor unless you designate otherwise. This is the model I would like to see. If you are dead and you haven't objected in advance, we should be able to take what we need to save others. I guess saying "we" sounds a bit creepy, but I hope you know it we mean.
If you're interested in becoming a donor please click here and start the process. If you live outside the United States please contact your local government to see how you can sign up.
If you want to donate your body to a local medical school, please contact the school directly.
Here is one example. Here is another
Whatever your plans are for after you pass on, please discuss them with your family. Make your wishes explicitly known in documents such as power of attorney, a living will, last will and testament, or a personal trust. These document names are in layman's terms so please consult your attorney or local resources for more information.
It is not enough to tell your spouse that you think being in a body farm would be "cool" as you watch an episode of NCIS. It is not enough to have a discussion over the dinner table that you think it would be neat to be an organ donor. Take the time to discuss it seriously with your spouse or significant other, and your parents if they are alive. Confusion within a family as to the wishes of the deceased frequently delays donation long enough that the donor organs are no longer viable.
If your family has conflicting feelings about organ or body donation based on religious beliefs, it is extremely important that you get your wishes in writing, even to the point of stating potential conflicts within the family. You may want to say something like this. "Despite objections within my immediate family over to the appropriateness of body donations based on religious beliefs I, John Q. Donor, explicitly state my wishes to be an organ/body donor at the time of my death. I give the medical establishment in custody of my body at my time of death to take appropriate steps to donate any and all organs still viable at the time of death."
Again, I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV, I am just stating out loud so the discussions I have had as I have prepared the documents for my death.
So please, please, please, consider signing up to be an organ donor. On this day, when we celebrate the thin line between life and death, celebrate life by making your body useful in death.
Here is a list of more links on the topic
What organizations can I contact to learn more about organ donation and transplantation?Donate Life America
Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients
National Kidney Foundation
National Marrow Donor Program
Children's Organ Transplant Association
Eye Bank Association of America
National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program
Office of Minority Health, Office of the Secretary
The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network
Transplant Recipients International Organization, Inc
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary's Organ Donation Initiative
And, if you really showed up just to find sexy Halloween costumes, click here, and enjoy.